Category Archives: Songs

Planning the Pageant

I always look forward to the MPR airing of the Festival of Nine Lessons  Carols from Kings College in Cambridge, England.   I have been in the chapel at Kings on a couple of occasions and sat in the choir stalls next the choir during an Evensong service.  This Sunday, our church is having its second annual performance of  Lessons and Carols, and I am really excited because I get to plan it.

Our bell choir director asked me to finalize the program for the service again this year.  She is more interested in the music than the lessons, and you have to take both into consideration when you plan the service.  The hymns and musical numbers need to reflect the meaning of the lessons. For example, the first lesson is about the Adam and Eve story, and the music that follows needs to reflect the Fall.  Hence, the musical number is will be that of the choir singing Lost in the Night, a mournful and serious (but kind of hopeful) Finnish Christmas carol.  The Kings service always starts out with a lone boy soprano singing the first verse, acapella, of Once in Royal David’s City.  We don’t have any boy sopranos, but we have a female high school Junior who has a pure and high voice and who is willing to give it a try.  Local people from other denominations will read the lessons, and our bell choir and vocal choir will perform songs.

Our church was founded by German immigrants, and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  I am of German ancestry, but most of my relatives were members of the  Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.  For reasons too complicated to go into now, I was raised in a Norwegian Lutheran Church.  I adore Scandinavian hymns, and planning our Lessons and Carols gave me complete control over the hymns that the congregation will sing at the service.  I made a point of finding as many appropriate Scandinavian hymns as I could. These people need to be educated.

We will sing Swedish,  Norwegian, and Danish Christmas carols, ones I  loved as a child, but none of which we sing regularly in our church. Some include:

Bright and Glorious is the Sky (In Danish, De Jlig Er Den Himmel Bla)

Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers (In Swedish Haf Trones Lamp Fardig)

Savior of the Nations, Come (A German hymn but popular in Norway)

I suppose this is sort of self-serving, but it is fun, and no one has complained yet.

What pageantry have you been a part of?  What are your  favorite carols?

 

 

Oklahoma

Today’s post is from tim.
i was 4
my bed was the one by the window
paul’s was the one by the wall
mom brought home the record of the new play called oklahoma
the songs are all so wonderful but that one about the surry with the fringe on top made me dance in my sleep
with eisenglass windows that roll right up in case there’s a change in the weather.
mom comes in
what’s wrong
nothing

what are you yelling

i didn’t realize i was singing i thought it was in my head
what are you singing
with eisenglass windows that roll right up in case there’s a change in the weather
we just got that record today
i like it
go to sleep you’ll wake up your brother

wha do you got for childhood flashbacks?

Birthday Boy!

Today is the birthday of our dear leader Dale!

We’ve talked here over the years of the gift that Dale has given us by starting the blog and setting a tone that we all appreciate.  Now let’s make a list of what gifts we would like to give Dale.

Here’s a poem for Dale’s birthday – although not quite up to the standards of Poet Laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler.

You’re honest,
decent, lovable,
and truly are first rate.
You’re charming,
unforgettable,
and clearly pretty great…

You’re dignified,
sophisticated,
gracious, sweet,
and kind.
You’ve got a lot
of talent
and a wit that’s
hard to find.

You’re cleaver, cool,
considerate,
and clean up really nice.
You’re worldly wise,
and wonderful
and full of good advice.

You’re fun
and entertaining,
not to mention
very smart.
You’re altogether awesome
and you’ve got a lot of heart!

What gift would you give Dale?

RIP Michael Johnson

today’s post comes to us from tim.

http://www.rollingstone.com/country/news/bluer-than-blue-singer-michael-johnson-dead-at-72-w492020

i was a huge fan of michael johnson’s rooty toot toot to the moon and other on his there is a breeze album in 1972.

he encompassed all the attributes of the ideal performer. great ability, great artistic sense, very pleasant personality. I saw him play in a small auditorium at normandale jr college ( full house was probably 60.) ansd at the guthrie and then i think i saw him a time or two at orchestra hall the day after christmas in kind of a celebration of one more year and we are still here. even when he moved to nashville and was having reasonable success as a singer songwriter he considered minneapolis st paul his home

he was originally from denver but was so loved in the twin cities that he felt this was his true home. a year ago I saw him play at the dakota which is a wonderful small intimate club downtown and it was great. he forgot a few lines and was embarrassed by it but getting old is part of the deal. I saw him play at the hopkins theater ahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYttaL_AHLwnd he was as much into telling stories about his life and observations as he was about playing the next song. I had told my daughter emma that i wanted to have her take classes from him at mcnalley smith in stage presence. i took a master class from him at mac phail and was very impressed with his gentle direction and basically the philosophy that when you perform you are offer your audience a gift. once i heard him say that i understood why i enjoyed his stage presence so much. that was it.

when I thought of how I would like to be seen when on stage he is what I came up with.

who are some role models you’d want to emulate?

 

Outdoor/Indoor

Thursday night we attended the 11th annual Minnesota Orchestra Concert down by Lake Winona, which officially opens the 2017 Beethoven Festival. It was a delightful concert, and got me thinking about some differences between Outdoor and Indoor Concerts:

Outdoor

  1. There may be a little rain an hour prior to concert, but hey, it blows over. (This has happened for the past two years.) The breeze makes the musicians find a way to secure their music to the stand.
  2. You bring your own chairs (or blanket), a picnic supper, and have a glass of beer/wine if you are discreet.
  3. The orchestra is seated on a platform, and you are on the ground below, so for the most part you can only see the string players. (It would be a good idea for the horns to stand when they have a prominent part, but I haven’t told them this yet.)
  4. A little girl in a green dress runs around (and around…) her parents’ chairs during the Tchaikowsky Polonaise (and beyond). Kids are swinging as high as they can on the adjacent playground, while the orchestra plays three of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances.
  5. You can kick of your shoes and let your feet feel the grass.
  6. You get to watch a really cool sunset while listening to the music.
  7. You can hum along with John Williams’ Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and no one minds.
  8. If you see someone you know, you can wave wildly, and easily find them after the concert ends.

Indoor 

  1. Weather is not an issue once you are in the venue. Musicians’ music usually stays put on its stand.
  2. You have prepaid seating; refreshments can be purchased at Intermission, and must be consumed before returning to the auditorium.
  3. The venue is designed so that much of the audience is looking down on the performers, and can see most of the players.
  4. Children are regularly hushed and shushed throughout the concert, and will run around only at Intermission.
  5. It’s probably best to leave your shoes on your feet… they’re hard to find in the dark if you need them.
  6. The lights will go down when the music starts playing, and you will sit in the dark.
  7. If you talk or sing during the concert, you will most likely get stern looks from those around you.
  8. If you see someone you know, give a polite wave and hope they see you; perhaps you will find each other in the milling crowd at Intermission 

When and where was the last outdoor performance you remember attending?